Ft. Dodge, IA-based truckload carrier Smithway Motor Xpress Corp. continued to recover from major losses last year, staying profitable both for the third quarter and through the first nine months of 2004.
For the third quarter, net earnings reached $854,000 on 14.6% higher operating revenues of $48.7 million, compared to a loss of $305,000 on operating revenues of $42.5 million in the same quarter last year.
For the first nine months of 2004, net earnings topped $1.9 million on 11.5% higher operating revenues of $138.9 million, compared to a loss of $2.3 million on operating revenues of $124.6 million over the same period in 2003. The carrier noted, however, that its year-to-date earnings include $727,000 of tax-free life insurance proceeds received during the first quarter.
G. Larry Owens, Smithway's president & CEO, said his company's average revenue per seated tractor per week increased by $290, or 11%, in the third quarter compared to 2003 as asset productivity and lane flow and as freight demand increased, allowing for a nine cent increase in revenue per loaded mile, increased revenue miles per tractor, and decreased deadhead.
"Higher truck production and freight rates have allowed us to absorb a two cent per mile driver pay increase and unusually high fuel prices," he added. "Almost all of our trucks, which we are replacing at the rate of 20 units per month, are seated with a driver. We are pleased with our continued profitability and look forward to further improvement."